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March 13, 2022

Homily on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

Let us give thanks to God that, although we are disobedient, by His goodness we are not yet such as the Church is now anathematizing. Let us deepen our obedience to our Church! Let us not be tempted by various slanders against her, which we so often hear about! This is not news: there have been such slanders before, and always will be, and our Church has not done anything and will not do anything. No darkness will darken the purity of her teaching, the firmness of her commandments and the powers of hell will not shake her. It has Jesus Christ as its cornerstone - God's power and God's wisdom, it was founded by the inspired apostles, approved by the Ecumenical Synods, proven by the holy fathers, tested for thousands of years.

But nevertheless, various slanders against her are dangerous for us, all of them are for the most part pleasing to our passions, flattering to our pride, and in this case, how easy it is to be tempted by them! The first time we will listen to them with coldness, perhaps even with disgust, the second time with indifference, the third time they will seem not repulsive to us, the fourth time we will defend them. And therefore it is safest of all to move away from such conversations, not to read such books, not to look at such people or look at them as strangers, as pagans and tax collectors, rejected from the heritage of the Kingdom of God.

Beware of others, let us be careful ourselves, for we too can be a stumbling block to others. To say something contrary to the teachings of the Church or being indecent to her commandments, we often do not consider a sin for ourselves, but how disastrous for others! You who are older in years and high in rank, perhaps you do not imagine that both the lower in status and the younger do not consider it a sin to do what you do not consider a sin to speak about. But it is even more disastrous for others when we behave carelessly. It is impossible to live without violating some commandments, but why, when violating, to do so that others do not see or hear it? It is never a sin, listeners, to hide one's vices, it is sinful only at confession before a confessor. To sin openly, or to speak openly about one's sins, is the height of impiety; it means adding new, perhaps countless, sins to your sins. A hypocrite who, under the guise of virtue, hides his vices so that others consider him virtuous, is worthy of contempt, but a clear violator of the commandments or one who shamelessly talks about his vices is worthy of damnation. No less than that, we sin when we talk about the sins of our neighbor. Revealing the sins of your neighbor is almost the same as doing them yourself. In what our neighbor sinned, that was, as it were, the beginning of sin; we complete it with our language. Moreover, if we do not commit the sins that others do, then it is not necessary to talk about what others do.

What happens when we openly sin or talk openly about our own sins or those of others? We are not only destroying ourselves, but also others, those who look at us, who listen to us and who will listen someday.

Let's remember what we were like in childhood, even in youth, and look at ourselves, what we are now! How little we then knew those sins into which we now so often fall, with what horror we then imagined those vices to which we so often indulge now! We could not even imagine then that it was possible to break the commandments, which we now break with such composure. But why such a change? Because before we have not yet seen or heard how others live, and after that we have learned everything from others, we have seen enough from others, we have heard enough from others, and, alas, now we ourselves teach others the same.

Yes, listeners, perhaps thousands would not have sinned if we had not sinned openly, if we had hidden our sins, if we had kept silent about the sins of our neighbor. Openly sinning and revealing sins is the same as spreading a contagious disease among people.

And so, let us be careful in our words and actions in the presence of others, let us ourselves beware of others, and above all let us be obedient to the Mother Church, let us be especially obedient to her in these days. Now the fasting spring has risen to us, the Church sings. Land not sown in the spring remains barren for the whole year. And it is hardly possible to expect good deeds from us throughout the year, if in these days, with prayer, fasting and tears, we do not sow the seeds of goodness in ourselves. Amen.